It’s an obvious question, but one not often asked, how does parapsychological research offend the evolutionist or materialist mindset? Certainly bold statements are made, but where is the real area of offense. One of the critiques most often leveled at research into anomalous perception centers around the idea that researchers in this area of experience posit some sort of supernatural origin for these phenomena. However, if you read what many of the top researchers relate, there’s nothing supernatural about psi.
“I do not believe that ESP has metaphysical origins. I believe that is is just a kind of ability we strengthen by expanding our awareness to think nonlocally. It will become less mysterious as more of us become more skillful.”
The excitment of parapsychological research is the challenge of coming into the next phase of our understanding the world around us. Skeptical psychologist James Alcock is right that we must keep in mind the so-called ‘null hypothesis,’ the idea that the massive amounts of data collected amount to nothing more than statistical artifacts and methodological error. However, we still need to account for the data that has been collected over 130 years of research, and do so in a non-dogmatic way. At this point there is too much evidence for it to be swept under the rug, and anyone who says differently should consult the literature.
How does one sit in on a Remote Viewing seminar, see people accessing information outside of their supposed sense reach, and not want to look into the phenomena further? It’s not about proving super powers, but honestly understanding conciousness and our place in the universe. As Targ says, you don’t need a statistical P value to know that a drawing done without any viable stimulus for the source, as happens in Remote Viewing, is on target and requires further investigation. He goes further in his book with:
“For me, questioning reality and the exploration of psychic abilities is the essential next step in the greatest opportunity we have as a species – the evolution of consciousness.
I believe that we have completed our physical growth; our brains are big enough. I am proposing that transcending our own species is the next evolutionary step for us to take. We started first as animals looking for food; then we advanced to moderately self-aware humans trying to understand nature; and now we are finally ready to meet our destiny as beings aware of our spacious and nolocal consciousness, transcending space and time and accepting the gift of psychic abilities. The suffering, wars, and confused search for meaning we are experiencing as a species are all manifestations of our inner selves sensing but not yet quite grasping our true nature. Our hardware is fine; it’s our awareness of our psychic software that must be upgraded – and quickly, given the critical state of affairs.”
These statement’s aren’t coming from a street corner psychic, Targ’s work on developing laser guidance systems for NASA and Lockheed Martin earned him awards, and his basis for saying these things is his direct experience researching anomalous perception for nearly 40 years. Critics need to recognize that those standing on the side of parapsychology are often those making a difference in the sciences, whereas biased skepticism fills the ranks of career debunkers and media pundits, not those at the forefront of research. Scientific inquiry is moved forward by open-minded investigations of the available data, which should never be skewed by dogma to fit anyone’s point of view. Nor should the data be treated as a nuclear spill that needs to be cleaned up post haste.
It’s critical that people begin to realize that this inquiry extends beyond fluffy pseudo-science and metaphysical speculation. The most interesting areas of investigation lie in the hard sciences, because it is here that the data which has been amassed in parapsychology can truly begin to entwine, and enhance, data being gathered in other fields.
Agree or disagree with these positions, you can’t deny that science is about questions, investigation, and exploration. The data is there, why is there such a stigma in terms of researching it, when there is obviously something so exciting that needs to be addressed. Whether you are a skeptic, believer or experiencer, everyone eventually has to address The Reality of ESP.